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USTA Florida State Doubles Championships Rock

September 30, 2008 05:18 PM

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This year marked the 60th year of the USTA Florida Jr. State Closed Doubles Championships, which took place Sept. 27-29 at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach Tennis Center.  Five hundred nineteen junior players matched up and played doubles in BG 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s, 18s and mixed divisions for ranking points (excluding mixed) and to participate in a social, action-packed, fun tennis weekend with friends.

The USTA Florida State Doubles Championships has continually grown in popularity from year to year.  This year, the tournament produced exciting matches between top junior players, opponents and peers.   Boys’ and girls’ 10s competed at the Ormond Beach Tennis Center while all other divisions took place at the Florida Tennis Center.  Players had to be on top of their game from the get-go as all matches were played in an 8-game pro-set format, except mixed which was one set. 

“What an atmosphere!” said Andy Gladstone, Director of Competitive Tennis, USTA Florida.  “I just loved seeing kids playing so hard, yet being so relaxed.  Five hundred nineteen kids playing regular doubles and mixed doubles is quite an accomplishment.”

It is also quite an accomplishment to schedule such a large amount of matches.  Special recognition goes to Tournament Director, Bobby Curtis, and Competitive Tennis Assistant, Ann Brown.

“Every tournament that Andy and Bobby run is to the highest quality,” said Spencer Wolf and Connor Smith, boys’ 18s doubles champions.  “They do a great job for the Florida Section.”

Wolf (Coral Springs) and Smith (Tampa) defeated 2007 boys’ 16s doubles state champions, Nicholas Gutsche (Sarasota) and Paul Polarczyk (Wesley Chapel) in the 18s final.  Although this was Wolf’s and Smith’s first time competing together and winning the State Doubles Championships, they have collected victories at a 2008 USTA National Open in Tampa and a Spring Sectional in Plantation.  As a doubles pair, they are undefeated in tournament play in Florida.  Both players head to college next year and will play collegiate tennis on full scholarships. 

“We try and play high percentage tennis,” Wolf said.

“This win is very exciting and we are very pumped up to win a doubles state tournament,” Smith added.  “We take the competition seriously, but have fun at the same time.”

Claiming the girls’ doubles title were sisters Brittany and Taylor Dubins of North Miami Beach.  Having plenty of doubles experience together as sisters, the duo has still never claimed a USTA Florida State Doubles Championship title.

“This was really exciting because this was my first state win ever,” Taylor said.  “Brittany has had a couple, but it is just nice to share it with each other.”

“We really weren’t expecting to do well at all because Taylor has been in college and she has been injured with her back, so it is the first time she has played in a really long time,” Brittany said.

Staying aggressive at the net and baseline, and focusing on poaching during matches seemed to be a perfect plan of action for the girls.

“It is definitely a special win because this is the last one I am able to play because I age out, so this is my last year,” Taylor said.  “I just turned 18 so it is a good way to go out on top.”

Top seeds Gonzales Austin (Miami) and Jason Berry (Boca Raton) claimed the boys’ 16s title, but not before playing a tough match against No. 2 seeds Tom Blackwell (Ponte Vedra) and Antonio Pena (Weston) in the final.

“We started off really well and then there was a little drama [a couple of point and game penalties],” Jason said.  “But we fought through it and came out with a ‘W’.” 

The state doubles victory was a first for both boys.  “I have never played this tournament before so it is a big deal for me,” Gonzales added.

There were no repeat doubles champions from 2007; however Nicole Robinson of West Palm Beach paired with new partner, Kelsey Laurente of Miramar, to win her second consecutive State Doubles Championship.

All players received a free “Doubles Rocks” t-shirt as a memento to bring home, and plaques were awarded to first through sixth place finishers.

2007 USTA Florida State Doubles Champions
Boys' 18 Doubles Champions
(1) Smith/Wolf d. (7) Gutsche/Polarczyk, 8-2


Boys' 16 Doubles Champions
(1) Austin/Berry d. (2) Blackwell/Pena, 8-6


Boys' 14 Doubles Champions
(7) Jothishankar/Plaskett d. (3) Butsch/Newman, 8-5


Boys' 12 Doubles Champions
(2) Perez-Blanco/Restrepo d. (4) Plutt/Plutt, 8-7(5)


Boys' 10 Doubles Champions
(1) Decoste/Roberts d. (2) Debruyne/Ebenfeld, 8-3
No photo available

Girls' 18 Doubles Champions
Dubins/Dubins d. (2) Chow/Yapp-Shing, 8-4


Girls' 16 Champions
(6) Laurente/Robinson d. Basil/Dvorak, 8-6


Girls' 14 Doubles Champions
(1) Colton/Kiick d. (2) Babayan/Martin, 8-5


Girls' 12 Doubles Champions
(1) O'Loughlin/Ramos d. (2) Kenin/Martin, 8-5


Girls' 10 Doubles Champions
1) Tkachenko/Tkachenko d. Franco/Peele, 8-5


Mixed 18 Doubles Champions
(3) Smith/Yapp-Shing d. (9) Butz/Love, 7-5


Mixed 16 Doubles Champions
5) Barrancotto/Pfeifler d. Jothishankar/Laurente, 7-6


Mixed 14 Doubles Champions
4) Babayan/Smith d. (1) Albo/Kiick, 6-3


Mixed 12 Doubles Champions
(2) Kuhlman/Opelka d. (4) Abbanat/Plutt, 7-6(5)


Mixed 10 Doubles Champions
Coopersmith/Kirkov d. (3) Franco/Norris, 7-5
No photo available

For a complete list of results and information about competitors from the State Doubles Championships, visit www.usta.com/tennislink, tournament ID 151600608 or simply CLICK HERE!






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